Monday, 27 October 2014

Ratskin for the lady?

Its 2014, blog so where have you been all this time? Why do I feel like this blog page is entering a secret room where nobody can see or hear me. I'm shut inside the coat cupboard of my childhood rubbing my cheek against the musty fur coats. They are still here. I wont throw them out in fact I have collected a few more. I was in Bergen last week and had two hours before my flight home to have a look around the historic town. It was gratifying for me to see wooden buildings much more squint and askew than the 150 year old wood and tar shed at the back of my house. I had despaired of it watching the tilt of the upper floor head seawards. Thought it was beyond the pale, but it seems not. I'm wishing now I hadn't pulled down the wee cludgie on the pier that emptied into the tide. There was me in a fit of anti-squintiness removing the old cludge because the squint ship's door, purposefully squint to fit the squint shape of sailing ship and because it wouldn't open at all. Old Bergen is full of such acceptable oddness and HSE nightmare angles of adrift foundations.Just one or two metal props here and there, some repaired clinker planks but lots of well encrusted original wood. So the old shed with its chalked boat measurements, carved signatures of long dead local boyos and lists in pencil of cwts of coal scrawled on the wall may yet have a reprieve. I still dream about it blowing away in the night in a gale.. There was a fur shop in the old town in Bergen resplendent with skins, coats, boots and hats. All manner of animal pelts. Seal was surprisingly cheap about £200 a skin for a small one. When we inherited the black shed there were gin traps and harpoons. No photographs it said in the fur shop, and we were continually watched by the shop girls. I did not buy. I have a sealskin hat made in Westray before that particular craft export ceased, sealskin slippers that Neil brought back from Canada and several fur coats that I would wear if it didnt rain so much. A sheep skin is the same to me and I have skinned a lamb and cured skins. Can you talk about fur now? At this time of year I brace myself for the winter lodgers that move in with me. The rats, they have become a feature of almost every winter. I am ultra sensitive now to hearing them moving around and scratching and of course I have seen them too. While the house was still in renovation stage they came in under the street and ran along the new pipework from the heating boiler clearly visible in unfinished parts where the plasterboard hadn't reached. I could hear them above my head in the gap between the foot-worn old floor of Wilson's shop and the false new floor laid with sterling board. We invited them in with central heating and plenty covered runways and nesting space. It's all systems go with high pitched sound emitters, electrocuting traps, cage traps, metal traps and sticky pads. Interesting the sticky pads deter them but dont stick them down - these are not lightweight lodgers I doubt. The most efficacious is the wooden neck breaking trap baited with various favourites among the rat trapping fraternity, Nutella, bacon, Turkish Delight, butter. Oh yes I can delight in the noise of the trap springing but you wont get me any where near the carcass. I become the pair of thick set legs in slippers in Tom an Jerry and cant even witness the removal of the corpse. No rat-skin gloves for me.www.fionamacinnes.co.uk